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N8264T accident description

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Tail numberN8264T
Accident dateJuly 23, 1993
Aircraft typeCessna 175B
LocationBlythe, CA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 23, 1993, at 1450 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 175B, N8264T, collided with a cable that stretches across the Colorado River about 25 miles north of Blythe, California. The pilot was conducting a local area visual flight rules personal flight. The aircraft, registered to and operated by the pilot, was destroyed. The certificated private pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated in Parker, Arizona, at an undetermined time and landed at Blythe, California at 1400 hours.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Safety Inspector who interviewed a witness located at the Blythe Airport, the aircraft was "on the ground for thirty or forty minutes", prior to departure from the airport.

There were no actual witnesses to the airplane crash. However, numerous witnesses located between one and seven miles south of the accident site reported observing the accident airplane flying northbound above the Colorado River. The consensus of several witnesses was that the airplane was "no higher than 50 feet above the water." One witnesses told Safety Board investigators that he "could see the pilot's face and his smile, that is what scared me."

Another witness reported that the pilot was flying up the river rocking his wings "side to side." He reported that he "could see the pilot...he had a mustache and dark glasses on." He stated that the pilot nodded to the crowd. The witness said the pilot "never came up off the water level." He turned to his wife and said, "Uh-oh, he's too low, I wonder if he knows about the cable?"

CREW INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane rating. The certificate was issued on August 5, 1987. The most recent third class medical certificate was issued to the pilot on February 28, 1991, with no restrictions.

According to the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute Aeromedical Certification Division, the pilot reported a total of 1800 hours of aeronautical experience, including 25 hours flown in the previous 6 months as of his last reported FAA medical application form. Safety Board investigators were unable to recover the pilot flight hours logbook.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION:

Logbooks and maintenance records were recovered for the accident airplane. Safety Board investigators noted that the last entry for a annual inspection was performed on April 15, 1993. The Hobbs Meter was destroyed in the impact sequence, therefore Safety Board investigators were unable to determine the airframe total time or the time since the last inspection.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane struck a 12 strand, one inch cable that stretches the span of the Colorado River, about 26 miles north of Blythe, California. The cable is owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and it is used to determine the water levels of the Colorado River.

The accident site was located about 1 mile north of Water Wheel Resort, a the trailer community. The Colorado River is the recreational site of many jetskiing, waterskiing and boating enthusiasts. The water level at the accident site was reportedly at the twelve foot level. The cable that the airplane struck is marked with white paint in ten foot increments.

The airplane was located by an individual in a passing boat about 45 minutes after numerous witnesses reportedly observed the accident airplane "flying low level" northbound past several resorts. The airplane was initially located in the water with the wings and tail section visible by individuals in the passing boat. The individuals in the boat went to the Water Wheel resort and notified local authorities.

Sheriff's officers responded to the scene at 1620 hours, and retrieved the two occupants from the accident airplane. They removed the airplane out of the water to a nearby beach, located about 1/2 mile south of the cable.

Examination of the aircraft revealed that the airplane engine, propeller hub and assembly, windshield, and cockpit with associated engine and flight instruments were missing.

Control continuity was established to all their respective control surfaces.

Examination of the main wreckage revealed cable marks along the left wing strut's leading edge.

The engine, propeller hub, propeller and cockpit were recovered on July 29, 1993. The propeller, engine, and engine cowl assembly were located about 750 feet north of the cable, in the Colorado River. Portions of the exhaust stack, and engine cowling were found wrapped around a submerged portion of the one inch cable. Additionally, there were cable marks found on the propeller blades.

Safety Board investigators examined the propeller and cockpit assembly on October 6, 1993. The majority of the flight instruments, and associated engine instruments were damaged due to the length of time they were submerged in the river.

Fuel and oil samples were not obtained.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by Dr. Darryl J. Garber, Forensic Pathologist for the County of Riverside, California, on July 26, 1993. The cause of death for the pilot was listed as "drowning."

Toxicological examinations conducted by the FAA, Civil Aeromedical Instutute disclosed positive results for the following volatiles:

0.047 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Blood 0.092 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Lung Fluid 13.500 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Urine 0.155 (ug/ml, ug/g) Cocaine detected in Urine 0.525 (ug/ml, ug/g) Ecgonine methyl ester detected in Urine

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The aircraft wreckage was released to Mr. Karnig G. Karadizian, personal representative of the estate of the pilot, on October 6, 1993.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.